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100K Goes to Allston

By Tara W. Merrigan and Nathalie R. Miraval, Crimson Staff Writers

Eight local non-profit organizations received a total of $100,000 in grants to help foster economic development in the Allston and Brighton neighborhoods last week from a fund endowed by Harvard University.

This is the third year that the Harvard Allston Partnership Fund—which was created with a $500,000 endowment from the University in 2009—has allocated $100,000 in grants.

The non-profits provide a number of services to the community, including offering health care for the uninsured and creating opportunities for local youth to attend summer camps for free.

The fund is part of the University’s $25 million investment aimed at addressing local needs and improving the quality of life in the neighborhood.

“I’m really thrilled that Harvard is recognizing community based organizations, working here in the community,” said Sister Pat Andrews of the Sisters of St. Joseph’s Academy. Andrews is the director of the Literacy Connection, which offers English language and citizenship courses to Allston-Brighton adults.

“We can use this money to strengthen our curriculum and materials we solicit,” Andrews said.

The grant awards were selected by a committee of Allston residents and representatives of the Boston Mayor’s office and the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino stressed that these awards will help organizations sustain their services despite the poor economy.

“Harvard Allston Partnership Fund grants bring opportunity, education, and vital services to North Allston’s residents,” Menino said in a press release.

Cathi Campbell, a board director for the Vocational Advancement Center (VAC)—a non-profit organization that provides job placement and training for special needs adults—said that budget cuts due to the economic crisis forced the VAC to let go of three staff members recently. Campbell added that the HAPF grant would allow the VAC to hire a part-time employee.

“He or she is going to make an incredible impact on these individuals that wouldn’t have been able to receive services otherwise,” said Campbell.

The Fishing Academy, the Allston-Brighton Baby Diaper Pantry, Earthwatch Institute, Gardner Pilot Academy, and West End House Girls Camp also received grants this year, which ranged from $4,800 to $25,000.

A total of 17 local non-profits have received grants from the fund.

—Staff writer Tara W. Merrigan can be reached at tmerrigan@college.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Nathalie R. Miraval can be reached at nmiraval@college.harvard.edu.

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